Owner and Pastry Chef
Sweet Tartlette is the sweet dream of Sarah Steele, owner and pastry chef. Sarah started in the culinary industry in college and began taking cake decorating classes after attending Michigan State University. After a tour of the kitchens and pastry cases of some of Chicago’s finest restaurants and bakeries, she is excited to introduce downtown Traverse City to her love for all things sweet.
As a graduate of The Culinary Institute of America’s Baking and Pastry Arts program, Sarah is a proud cake decorator, chocolatiere, and patissiere. While living in Chicago, her enjoyment for teaching crossed into her love for crafting delicious desserts and the two have intertwined to become Sweet Tartlette.
The name ‘Sweet Tartlette’ stems directly from Sarah’s philosophy on desserts – the best recipes are not singular. Food that balances diverse flavors and distinct textures tantalizes all five taste receptors of the tongue. Desserts should not be just sweet; they can be tart, salty, and bitter; they can be crunchy, soft and creamy; they can be hot and cold juxtaposed. These balancing acts make for a better, more intriguing tasting experience.
Founded in 2015, Sweet Tartlette will endeavor to bring a taste of fine pastry and confections to the bustling Traverse City culinary scene. Focusing on a seasonal approach and geared with an abundance of local ingredients, the goods at Sweet Tartlette will satisfy the sweet tooth of confectionery connoisseurs and bonbon beginners alike.
Gary moved to Traverse City after graduating from the Culinary Institute of Michigan with an Associate’s degree in Baking and Pastry Arts. Gary is Sarah’s right hand man. He helps with recipe development, (Cheesecakes are his current passion.), pastry prep, and is always excited to try new things. In his spare time, he likes spending time with friends and expanding his pallet trying new food as well as learning about cocktails and wine.
Brianne, a Traverse City native, has been with Sweet Tartlette since almost the beginning. Starting as a counter help while a student at Hope College, she has earned her BA in Studio Art and a Minor in Art History. She has grown to become an essential part of the shop as Manager, social media guru, and photographer. Working alongside Sarah and the team, she collaborates in making cake dreams come true from everyday celebrations to weddings galore. Outside the shop, she is a local artist, and she enjoys spending time with family, doing her ceramic work, and capturing life through the lenses of her film cameras.
Shya helps out in all aspects of shop life. You can find her assisting Sarah and Gary in the kitchen as well as helping customers at the front counter. She is a baking and pastry student at Kendall College in Chicago, though she currently taking a gap year to gain work experience and save money before she returns to Chicago in the fall to finish her studies.